When you have a back problem, you will often be told to ‘use it or lose it’. Why is this so important? As our joints get a little older, they will begin to stiffen. This happens because quite naturally our muscles and ligaments begin to contract and the cartilage padding between the joints starts to thin and become less spongy and flexible than in our youth.
If you have a look at the x-rays in this post, you can see that the dark space at the bottom of the spine on the left(which is the cartilage disc) has become very thin compared to the normal spine on the right.
Once this happens, the joint will lose its flexibility. But here is the good news: If you keep stretching the area regularly, it is possible to keep worn joints working well for many years to come. The x-ray on the left belongs to an actual patient of ours and for the last three years he has been stretching his lower back for 10 minutes each day. Since he began doing this he reports far less pain and stiffness than he was experiencing before he knew how to manage this condition.
And that is why we say ‘use it or lose it’!